Apple revamps iTune prices, copy restrictions

Apple revamps iTune prices, copy restrictions San Francisco - Apple on Tuesday announced the biggest changes in the history of its iTunes online media store, saying it would offer the vast majority of songs without copy restrictions and at three price levels rather than the current 99-cent flat rate.

Apple also announced that it would begin offering iPhone owners the ability to download songs directly over cellular 3G networks for the same price as downloading the songs via their computers.

Until Tuesday, most of the more than 10 million songs on the iTunes catalogue were hampered by digital right management (DRM) software, which limited users' freedom to transfer them to other devices.

The new format, available immediately, is called iTunes Plus and will do away with these restrictions.

By April, Apple will introduce its new pricing policy. Most songs will be available for 69 cents per track, but the most popular and recent songs, which account for most downloads, will cost 1.29 dollars. Other songs will still be available at the old price of 99 cents.

"We are thrilled to be able to offer our iTunes customers DRM-free iTunes Plus songs in high quality audio and our iPhone 3G customers the ability to download music from iTunes anytime, anywhere over their 3G network at the same price as downloading to your computer or via Wi-Fi," said Steve Jobs, Apple's CEO.

The iTunes store is the world's most popular online music, TV and movie store with a catalogue of more than 10 million songs, 30,000 TV episodes and 2,500 films including more than 600 in high definition video.

Apple says the service has sold 6 billion songs since going online in 2003, and that more than 75 million accounts with credit cards have been created. (dpa)

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